Lately, I realized that I haven't been living a full life. Now this might be a shock to many of you because of my bubbly, outgoing nature when interacting with others (because I love people lolol), BUT deep, deep down, there is a part of me that is not that bubbly person, although I never "release" that part to the world. By that I mean, I have been choosing to live my life out of fear, anger, heartbreak, sadness, regret, insecurity, self-doubt, comparison... I was never brave enough to admit these truths to myself, but I am at the point where my 23rd birthday is coming up soon, on January 7th and I have been reflecting upon what is almost the first entire quarter of my life (that is, if I live until 100, which most people do not!!) I have spent a great deal of my life feeling absolutely nervous or basically depressed, and this is going to end. Not because of magic. Not because of any sort of thing like luck. This is going to end, merely because I say so. I choose, now, to live a life of bravery, of courage. Of saying no to things I truly want to say no to. Of saying yes to things I truly want to say yes to. I am ready to follow through with commitments and intentions. I am ready to try to determine my thoughts and feelings about a given situation or event before I jump into it wholeheartedly, only to find myself disappointed later or in a bad scenario in which I need to get myself out of for my mental/physical/etc. well-being's sake. I am ready to stop letting the fear of being not liked hold me back from trying to make new friends, or from trying experiences that I previously did not have the self-confidence to go after. Many people, on the surface, would never guess that self-esteem and self-confidence is something that I struggle with, but being bullied in school growing up and being treated poorly in previous romantic relationships, among other not-so-great situations -- well, that sort of thing can stay with you for a long, long time if you choose to let it. What I hadn't realized is that deciding how to live your life is a choice you can make, personally. You are not doomed to some awful fate of a future merely because your past was some awful fate. How do you move on from a traumatizing, hideous past? You say okay. You watch other people, who did not have hideous pasts, or even people who did, and you watch how they carry themselves, how they carry on despite everything and everyone. You emulate their movements, the way they laugh without skepticism, the way they embrace opportunities with a healthy sense of removal. If something doesn't work out, it has no reflection upon them as a failure versus a success. You learn from those who write about their experiences in books, magazines, newspapers, blogs or who show you them in photographs, discuss them in vlogs or other video formats. You take a deep breath and realize that honestly, you might think you will never achieve the life you want to live because you feel, deep down, that you are not that girl, you are not that person, the one whom you so desperately want to become. But...you are your past? You are defined by many things that were either mistakes or out of your control? Certainly not. Throw that idea to the wind. Free yourself. Liberate yourself. Go make a list of 21 things you want to do in the next two weeks, and go out and do them. Prove everyone wrong. But most importantly, prove yourself wrong.